browsers and javascript

So Nate brings up the point that many comment system implementations use javascript: calls to bring up their comment windows. It’s true. It isn’t a purist thing to do. It involves throwing java into your page, and it does in fact exclude several browsers from viewing your comments.

Nate’s quick rant on the subject doesn’t do it for me. He sites poor him as not being able to read the comments on blogs with javascript: flavored comments because a browser he uses, namely Lynxs, doesn’t support javascript. That doesn’t wash.

Check out my server stats relating to browser versions used to view my site. (and granted, I’m not a huge, well travelled site, but I do represent the kinda traffick that our bloggospere generally sees). You’ll see that of the nearly 7000 hits on my site this month, 5 of them are by non-javascript capable browsers. That’s right around 0%. My site does things The Right Way (TM). But even if it didn’t, right around 0% of my readership would be left adrift due to non-javascript enabled browsers. So Nate’s rant doesn’t do it for me. We live in 2002. Computers with GUI enabled operating systems, big monitors and millions of colors are cheap. If he can’t view my site, it’s because he’s being a curmudgeon and using the wrong tool. He can’t even pull the low-bandwidth-so-I’d-rather-use-a-minimal-browser card. Just not the case. In fact, I’d venture to guess that a large percentage of my readership has broadband just like Nate.

I did a quick Google search on the issue though, because I was interested. I found a really interesting article on a blog called Dive Into Mark (I seem to remember seeing this blog linked off of Jon’s blog. Do yourself a favor, read this article if you’re into web design.

DiveIntoMark actually brings up some cogent reasons why javascript: links aren’t a good idea. These stories describe some real reasons for doing things The Right Way (TM).

So while I respect Nate’s opinions and usually find that he’s right, especially when it comes to programming sorts of issues, this time around I found his reasoning to be lacking. Just my opinion. He’s right, regardless. Just for the wrong reasons. 😉


  1. Even though I use IE 6.0, I experienced a problem with some Javascript comment windows recently. What was strange is that it was only on some sites, and not others (even only some of the sites at , all designed by the same person). It turned out to be a bit of add-in software I was using called “Adsoff” which was a nifty little app that prevented banner ads from displaying within web pages. This never caused an issue with corporate-type pages like Microsoft, Yahoo, and eBay, but I got rid of it for the sake of comment reading.

  2. Interesting. Nate and I are having an aside conversation about the whole issue, just sort of hashing out our positions.

    The whole issue is interesting to talk about, but I’m afraid that the reality is that javascript is part of the web for better or worse.

  3. javascript part of web, sure.

    javascript: part of web, no necessary.

    i use proxomitron to make my browsing ad-free.

  4. It also seems that high bandwidth is part of the web, since all sites don’t configure themselves for my chintsy dial-up. I’m going to sue.

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